Top albums of 2020
Yeah, I know I’m late. I’ve had the beginnings of this playlist sitting in Spotify for, well, most of the year and then I finished this playlist back over the holiday break. No, I don’t think I’m some sort of super-cool Pitchfork reviewer and people are awaiting my picks. Obviously. It’s almost February.
However, as I ebb and flow through the different stages in my life, the happenings of the world around us and the soundtracks unintentionally made, I realize how much I miss a mixtape to crystalize that moment in time. I savored evenings spent in my room working on a collective of songs from crudely dubbed radio tunes (quite often documented with the incorrect song titles), my own collection and anything I could borrow or get from the library.
So while many made loaves upon loaves of bread or binged Netflix, I rode bikes (A LOT) and listened to a crap-ton of new music. I made, not one, but three 2020 lists. Enjoy!
My Picks for Top 2020 Albums & EPs
Run the Jewels — RTJ4
Future Islands — As Long As You Are
Fleet Foxes — Shore
Bob Moses — Falling Into Focus (Live 2020)
Raye — Euphoric Sad Songs
Lianne La Havas — Lianne La Havas
The Avalanches — We Will Always Love You
Kelly Lee Owens — Inner Song
Sturgill Simpson — Vol. 1 (Butcher Shoppe Sessions)
Washed Out — Purple Noon
Roisin Murphy — Roisin Machine
Father John Misty — Anthem +3
Ric Wilson & Terrace Martin — They Call Me Disco
Walter Martin — The World At Night
Tame Impala — The Slow Rush
Poolside — Low Season
Shopping — All or Nothing
Khruangbin & Leon Bridges — Texas Sun
SAULT — Untitled (Rise)
- If I have to picked one, Run the Jewels, RTJ4 was my favorite complete album of the year and received the most plays while riding my bike. It’s full of timely messages and sick hooks served up by grown-ass adults (Killer Mike & El-P), which I appreciate ;)
- I love ambient, dreamy beats so simple albums like the ones from Washed Out and Poolside won’t blow anyone away, but in a year of ups and downs, who doesn’t need some reliable, sexy tunes to back the endless WFH situation?
- Do you want to get your house cleaned super fast? Try Shopping’s latest album. Blast these new age-y punk sounds, recruit the kids and voila! a clean house appears while everyone bops their bodies.
- Are you a fan of electronic music, but craving something a bit more sophisticated and less “cardio”? Look no further than The Avalanches, Roisin Murphy, Bob Moses, Kelly Lee Owens and SAULT. All are veterans that deliver. The Avalanches and SAULT albums are big time standouts for me this year, so if you only pick one or two, start here.
- While I really liked a lot of the hip hop and rap that came out this year, let’s face it, reliable, solid background music was much needed when we lived extra hard in our homes. I found myself going back to Future Islands, Fleet Foxes, Lianne La Havas, Father John Misty and Tame Impala over and over and over again.
I’d love to know what you did to make it through the year (and counting) of COVID. How did this list land for you? Based on what I’ve shared here, who am I missing? I’d love to hear from you.
If you’re looking for more, here is my write up and Spotify playlist from 2019.